Local search engine optimisation is a multifaceted strategy. And so, making SEO mistakes is inevitable. But don’t be discouraged. Even SEO professionals commit them.
What’s important is you can identify the hiccups and know what to do about them. After all, the benefits of local SEO, especially for small business owners, far outweigh the possible setbacks you might encounter.
This list of common local SEO mistakes, remedies and tips should keep you motivated to maintain your competitive edge!
1. No Google My Business page
Did you know that according to a Google My Business insights study, a local business gets an average of 1,260 monthly views on search and maps?
The best part? You get this advantage by simply creating a Google My Business profile without having to spend anything.
Undoubtedly, your business will be missing out a lot if you do not have a Google My Business profile. Aside from potential customer and sales loss (both online and in-store), Google will not be able to rank you in the local search or Google Maps.
That’s because Google uses your Google My Business details more for ranking rather than what’s on your website. Without a GMB profile then means you are less likely to appear on the local map pack.
All these effects combined will only make it easy for your competitors to dominate the SERPs.
- Submit essential GMB information, like your NAPW (name, address, phone number and website), business hours, relevant categories, reviews and photos.
- Make sure that all parts are accurate and optimised.
- Verify your listing to ensure that only you can edit your Google My Business page later on.
2. Not utilising customer reviews
Some business website owners consider customer reviews as an add-on, if not an afterthought. This thinking, however, only leads to several SEO mistakes.
Because Google sees online reviews as an essential local SEO ranking factor. Specifically, it translates regular, diverse and positive reviews into satisfactory customer service that deserves a search ranking boost.
Experts also agree that users now include Google ratings or Google reviews in their search queries, further stressing the importance of customer feedback.
- Make it effortless for your customers to leave positive reviews. You can ask them to do it in-person, over the phone or through an email link.
- Consider having a dedicated online review management team to generate custom and optimised replies to comments or enquiries.
- Follow Google’s review guidelines and observe best practices at all times. These other Google review tips may help you out, too.
3. Ignoring negative reviews
This one perhaps is one of the most common SEO mistakes that business owners make. That’s because it’s more convenient to disregard a complaint or two and move forward.
But the thing is, it matters to your future customers and Google. Specifically, your reply to reviews of any type works as a signal of business engagement and credibility.
It also shows Google how much you value your customers. More importantly, it’s a key ingredient in attracting customers and building lasting business relations.
- Conduct an investigation when you receive a negative review. Then promptly reply and apologise if needed.
- Go the extra mile by offering a remedy to the problem, such as product replacement, refund or a dialogue with the manager.
- Keep replies to reviews polite and concise. You want your future visitors to quickly find out how you handled a complaint or bad review.
- Address negative reviews sincerely. For instance, address the customer by name and send a customised reply.
4. No consistent NAPW
Your name, address, phone number and website or NAPW is a crucial element of your business listing. Aside from correctness, these details should also be consistent across multiple online directories.
Why is consistency important? Because Google has to review millions of companies. With these data points, evaluation or local ranking is faster and more programmable.
So, if Google spots problems in your NAPW, it will affect your online visibility, as well as your organic traffic and conversion rate. After all, Google prefers giving accurate details to its users.
- Cross this off your list of SEO mistakes by using the same NAPW in your Google My Business Page, Yellow Pages, Yelp and other directories.
- Ideally, get the details right the first time, then monitor it regularly, especially if moving to another business location or changing phone numbers.
- You can check and correct inaccurate contact details manually by searching for them on Google. Use the broadest search term of your address and business name to avoid missing out on anything.
- If your NAPW appears in hundreds or thousands of pages, it’s best to use a listing checker or tool.
5. Duplicate listings
This SEO mistake is common in businesses moving to another location and creating a listing with a new address. In some cases, the owner may have forgotten about an existing directory, creating a duplicate by mistake.
Whatever the reason, duplicate listings are a no-no for Google as they can confuse users. Aside from poor user experience, it’s also a waste of Google resources.
It also gives the impression that your business is not that reliable or trustworthy.
- Ensure that you only have one correct listing with up-to-date details from the get-go.
- Make listing clean up and monitoring a part of your local SEO strategy.
- Use an automated checker to spot your duplicate listings online. Promptly contact Google to remove them and avoid a ranking issue.
6. No local keyword targets
Perhaps every business owner would target generic keywords like “best pizzeria” or “top law office” to rank. And so, if you’re new in the industry, chances are it will take you ages to earn good organic search visibility.
Forget about popular keywords. Using a location keyword or phrase like “best podiatrist in Melbourne” or “top law office in Sydney” lets you target a buy-ready audience.
- When publishing geo-specific content, make it helpful and relatable. This way, you’re making it easy for customers to find you and, hopefully, convert in one go.
- Avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. Google may penalises underhand tactics like inserting the city or postal code in the title or footer excessively. So, stick to best practices and high-quality content production.
- Naturally, do not use geo-specific keywords to target users who are not within your locale.
7. Not using a mobile optimised site
Nowadays, people often use their smartphones or tablets when making a Google search. So, it is a big SEO mistake if your website looks good on desktop mode but not on mobile.
Google is aware of this mobile search behaviour, too. And it’s also why its ranking algorithm considers a mobile-friendly site a good signal.
Google even noted that mobile-friendliness is crucial in optimising core web vitals and page experience.
- Prioritise smartphone users more. Have an SEO expert and web developer help you create a mobile-friendly website that delivers on any device.
- Study the results of your Google PageSpeed Insights to identify factors affecting your website performance. You can also try Google’s mobile-friendly test.
8. Poor technical SEO
Technical SEO is a broad aspect of your optimisation efforts that focuses on your site’s speed, responsiveness and user-friendliness. It also ensures that Google crawlers can find, read and understand what your website is all about.
Seeing that technical SEO covers a range of significant factors, it will surely be a big loss if you do not give it attention.
- Conduct a regular website audit to identify technical SEO issues that need fixing. Areas of concern may include your page load time, mobile readiness, bounce rates and site security.
- Let an SEO expert and web developer assist you in implementing Google’s SEO guidelines. Implementing technical SEO can be tricky and complicated. So, it’s often best to leave it to the pros.
If there’s anything good about making SEO mistakes, that is, you can do something about them. They also encourage you to keep your local SEO efforts aligned with Google’s current algorithm update.
Local search engine optimisation, after all, is an ongoing strategy. Even if you make it to first-page results, it won’t last without the skills and hard work.
And so, aside from knowing how to solve these common mistakes, make sure to have a good team of experts to help you out. After all, it’s better to find a sure-fire solution than turn a simple mistake into a headache!